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A former British Columbia cabinet minister quit the New Democrat government Wednesday, citing antisemitism in the party caucus and indifference towards the problem.

Selina Robinson, who is Jewish, said she could no longer remain in the government because it was not properly addressing antisemitism in the province or among some of her former colleagues.

She said she will sit as an Independent. She had previously announced her retirement, saying she won't be running in the provincial election this October.

Asked if there were antisemitic voices in the caucus, Robinson said: "That's been my experience. There's been history of that. I'm aware of people who have said or done antisemitic things over time. They've apologized or not."

She said she felt her voice was no longer being heard within the party.

"I can't continue to be the only voice speaking up against antisemitism and Jew hatred," said Robinson. "All of this has made Jewish people feel unsafe and I have shared all of this with the premier's office over the last five months and I continue to be the only one who is saying we have to do something differently."

Robinson resigned her cabinet post as minister of post-secondary education last month after saying modern Israel was founded on "a crappy piece of land."

Her remarks on Jan. 30 sparked an outcry from pro-Palestinian groups that called them racist and Islamophobic.

Robinson told an impromptu news conference in a hallway of the B.C. legislature on Wednesday that her heart had been "shattered" by her treatment since her cabinet resignation, and that she was a victim of double standards.

Ex-minister Selina Robinson quits B.C. #NDP, citing #antisemitism in caucus. #BCPoli #SelinaRobinson

"It's been a month of, I would say, crying every day," she said.

NDP house leader Ravi Kahlon said it was "a sad day."

"Selina is clearly hurting. I certainly hope she finds peace as she moves forward."

Kahlon denied there was antisemitism in the NDP caucus.

"We're going to continue to call out racism whether it's toward the Jewish community, to others in our communities," he said. "We brought back a human rights commission. We have launched the strongest anti-racism strategy in the country. This work is important to us. It's deeply important to all of my colleagues."

Kahlon said Robinson made a "mistake" with her comments in January.

"A mistake was made and we need to move forward," he said.

Premier David Eby is a staunch advocate of anti-racism initiatives and has often condemned antisemitism, Kahlon said.

Robinson said she had asked Eby if she could work with Muslim and Jewish communities to promote dialogue between them.

She said she wanted to work with the two communities, which were "in agony and pain and suffering and fear, and reduce the division that we are seeing because I think that's the role of government."

"The premier's office said they weren't interested in doing that and that really shattered my heart," she said.

"If government's not interested then I can't be part of a government that chooses to be silent while people are suffering."

Eby said in a statement Wednesday that Robinson made a mistake and she was working to "address the harm that was caused."

"I wish she had brought her concerns to me directly so we could have worked through them together," he said. "Our government's work to bring people and communities together will continue. I will continue to condemn hate in all its forms including the rise of antisemitism we have seen."

Last month, Eby said Robinson's "belittling" remarks in January were incompatible with her remaining in cabinet.

Robinson said she had been treated differently to former colleague Mable Elmore, the parliamentary secretary for anti-racism. She said Elmore had "outraged the Jewish community" with remarks about the Middle East conflict in November.

"She didn't lose her role as a result of those comments that were hurtful to that community, but I did lose my role, I was asked to step down," she said, without further describing Elmore's remarks.

She said this was "a double standard that has deeply hurt the Jewish community … and has hurt me deeply as well."

Robinson, who has also served as finance minister, said she hadn't heard from Eby or any other members of the NDP caucus since informing them of her decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2024.

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"Former B.C. cabinet minister Selina Robinson said she felt unsupported as a Jewish woman in her party, and said there are antisemitic voices in the NDP caucus.
"… Speaking as part of a panel of Jewish public officials, Robinson had referred to the region where Israel was settled as "a crappy piece of land with nothing on it." (CBC)

Unsupported as a Jewish woman?
Or unsupported as a B.C. cabinet minister who parroted a Zionist trope ("terra nullius" = "nobody's land") that denigrates the Palestinians, erases them from history, and undermines their claim to the land stolen and now occupied by Zionists?

Does not sound as if Robinson has genuinely taken responsibility for her hateful comments. Instead, she plays the anti-semitism card. Pathetic.
Good riddance.

In Gaza, meanwhile, Palestinians continue to be bombed, shot, and starved by Zionist forces intent on their genocidal mission enabled by Western powers.